Evaluating the Impact of a Free SMS Information Service on Family-Planning Knowledge and Behavior in Kenya
Randall Juras, Abt Associates
Douglas Johnson, Abt Associates
Pamela Riley, Abt Associates
Ben Woodman, Abt Associates
Mobiles for Reproductive Health (m4RH) is an SMS-based platform, developed and implemented in Kenya by FHI360, which provides free on-demand information on various family planning methods and clinic locations. We use a randomized controlled design to estimate the impact of m4RH on study participants’ use of contraception as well as their short- and long-term knowledge of family planning methods. During the study’s enrollment period, 8,500 new m4RH users are being randomly assigned to a treatment group that has full access to the m4RH service, or to a control group that instead receives general motivational messages. Three surveys (baseline, 1-month, and 3-month) will be administered via SMS, and impacts will be measured by comparing knowledge and behavioral outcomes in the treatment and control groups. As SMS surveys are not commonly used for this purpose, we verified the feasibility of our survey methodology during the study’s recently-completed pilot phase.